The power to engage and inspire consumers involves innovative grit, and brands around the world aspire to rise above the rest by creating ads that consumers simply can’t bypass. Lofty aspirations aside, however, we know there will always be at least some resistance to advertising—no matter how inspiring it may be.
Advertising remains vital to the media industry, but the growing array of content options presents two primary challenges for advertisers: 1) Consumers don’t all experience the same content and 2) Ad-free experiences are available—for a price—and they appeal to many.
While brands shouldn’t abandon their traditional advertising strategies, they certainly do need tailored initiatives to engage with their audiences—especially as the media landscape fragments across platforms and services. There is an opportunity to make strategies that focus more on than traditional advertising.
From an engagement perspective, branded content can be an effective alternative because it’s typically developed to resemble editorial content instead of traditional advertising. Given the heavier focus on storytelling and brand journalism in this type of content, SME’s Branded Content Effectiveness studies have found that viewers of branded content are 62% more likely to react positively than those who watch 30-second TV ads. A majority of respondents say that branded content makes them more engaged, more relevant, and helps them recall the brand.
Viewers of brand-branded content are 62% more likely than viewers who view 30-second advertisements to respond positively.
Immersive gaming experiences are another growing opportunity for brands, including those that aren’t closely connected to video game culture. Mastercard is an example of a brand many would not associate with esports but has seen significant upside in this space. In addition to reaching an audience that differs from its traditional clientele, Mastercard’s integration in Riot Games’ League of Legends Championship (LCS) series allows players to keep their card on file and use it for in-game e-commerce use.
Despite the growing range of newer marketing options, marketers surveyed for this year’s SME Annual Marketing Report said they’re not interested in new ad formats like branded integrations and product placements. These options are not considered very important or very important by only 19%, while 31% consider them very difficult or impossible to measure.
Many advertisers still struggle with measuring their marketing effectiveness, particularly in non-traditional areas like brand integrations or product placements. These strategies in TV programming and movies aren’t new, but assessing their impact has been a long-standing challenge.
To help in this regard amid the rise of ad-free SVOD programming, SME developed a metric that allows for SVOD brand integrations to be tracked in ways that put it on the same playing field as traditional advertising—using the traditional 30-second ad spot as a baseline.
SME examined the viewing habits of Netflix’s program to show how agencies and brands can use this data. Cobra KaiIt was possible to evaluate the equivalized values of the brand integrations in the four first weeks that the stream was made available. Coors is the most prominent brand in the program, and the show’s lead character Johnny Lawrence drinks a lot of it. This favouritism is paying off. Coors exposures gathered almost 170,000,000 valued and equivalized impressions among viewers over 21 during the first four weeks of the program’s availability on Netflix.
Marketers also have incremental reach through brand integrations into SVOD content. Importantly, traditional television continues to reach a broad range of consumers, but a notable portion of streamers don’t watch any linear TV. As an example, in the period between August 28, 2020 and September 3, 2020 10.4% of streamers viewed linear TV. Cobra Kai viewers didn’t watch any linear TV. That means understanding channel preference and engagement has never been more important for brands looking to engage with media-savvy consumers—across SVOD platforms and all other channels.
Get additional insight by downloading our Advertiser Playbook. This document identifies top challenges for advertisers and highlights how to solve them.